WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 112-100 on Monday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...
Losses piling up
While last season was a rollercoaster ride for the Washington Wizards, one thing they never did was lose seven games in a row. They have done just that this time around, as they dropped their seventh straight on Monday against Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets.
That is their longest losing streak since the Orlando bubble and marks 10 losses in 11 games for the Wizards, who are having some trouble stopping the bleeding in what is becoming an extended skid. Now they have to embark on a six-game West Coast road trip that will not feature any light opponents. They play the Nuggets, Clippers, Lakers, Suns, Jazz and Kings.
The Wizards can blame turnovers for this one. They had 20 giveaways, which the Nets cashed in for 21 points on the other end. Their mistakes contributed to big momentum-swinging runs for Brooklyn.
Will Barton came back from a two-game absence due to left foot soreness on Monday, as the Wizards got a small bit of relief from their rash of injuries. Barton was good, too, pitching in with a season-high 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. He shot a clean 8-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-8 from three.
It's no secret Barton has not performed up to his standards this season, as his scoring average is about half of what it was last year in Denver. So, for him to come back from an injury and have one of his better games as a Wizard so far was a pleasant surprise. One of Barton's issues this season has been his inability to get to the rim comparative to his career norms, and in this game he got some of his baskets on drives. But he also just knocked down some outside shots he has been missing often so far. Maybe the two games off helped him hit the reset button.
Kristaps Porzingis left this game in the second half and was quickly ruled out with back tightness, ending his night at 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting in 24 minutes. Porzingis left for the locker room in the first quarter, then returned to play for a while before leaving the game again.
In addition to the scoring, Porzingis also added three rebounds, two steals and a block. That was a strong stat-line, although he also had five turnovers, which contributed to the Wizards' biggest problem of the evening.
Porzingis remarked after Saturday's loss to the Clippers how he needs to cut down on his technical fouls this season. He wasn't asked about it, either, he just mentioned it while answering an unrelated question. But then, he got another one in this game after arguing a foul call in the first quarter. He thought Ben Simmons got a piece of him on a layup and wanted an and-1.
Sure enough, Porzingis is over-indexing on technical fouls this year. That was his fifth tech of the season, which is only one short of his career-high of six. Porzingis had six technicals last year, six the year before and five in each of the two years before that. So, he's basically already at his average and it's only Dec. 12. There is a long way to go.
While Barton came back, Beal does not seem far behind as he was cleared for on-court basketball activities earlier in the day. Beal has now missed four games due to a hamstring strain, which he sustained two weekends ago against the Lakers. The Wizards said he would be re-evaluated in one week and that milestone evidently brought good news.
Whether Beal travels with the Wizards to Denver to start their West Coast road trip on Wednesday has yet to be determined. Rui Hachimura will travel, though he has now missed 12 games and does not yet seem to have a target date for a return. The Wizards were also without Monte Morris in this one, as he sat out for the second straight game with a groin issue.